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Tinder settles Whitney Wolfe sexual harassment lawsuit

Tinder and its parent company IAC have agreed to an out-of-court settlement in the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former executive and co-founder Whitney Wolfe.

In an email to BuzzFeed News (opens in new tab), John Mullan, a partner at the law firm representing Wolfe, confirmed "Whitney's lawsuit against Tinder has been resolved (without admission of wrongdoing)." Mullan added that Wolfe was now looking to focus on "exciting new opportunities."

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The company did not reveal the amount of money involved in the resolution, but Matt Traub, a spokesman for IAC, did confirm that the suit had been settled without admission of wrongdoing. The Los Angeles County Superior Court also confirmed that Wolfe had dropped the case.

The lawsuit centred on a series of emails and text messages sent to Wolfe by Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, which allegedly contained "horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments." Wolfe also contends that she was called a "whore" and a "gold digger" by Mateen in front of Rad, before ultimately being fired by the firm. Many of the allegations were documented via screengrabs of text messages.

According to a source close to the company, Mateen, who was initially suspended following the allegations, has since left IAC.

The suit reignited a long-running debate over the treatment of women in tech, with Wolfe's lawyers claiming that the behaviour of Tinder's top executives represented "the worst of the misogynist, alpha-male stereotype too often associated with technology startups."

A number of high-profile technology firms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google and Yahoo have recently admitted that gender inequality still exists in their employee figures, with female members of staff remaining under-represented.

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A case management conference had been scheduled for Wolfe's lawsuit next month, but it has now been cancelled following the out-of-court settlement.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.